Ardian provides £40m unitranche to EAT.

The France-headquartered investment specialist has provided a £40 million unitranche facility to UK food retailer EAT to fund domestic and international expansion.

Alternative lender Ardian has provided a £40 million (€49.0 million; $67.5 million) unitranche facility to EAT, a London-based sandwich retailer, it announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The facility refinances EAT’s existing credit facilities and includes a £12.5 million capital expenditure tranche which will be used to fund plans for further store openings in the UK and abroad.

Private equity firm Lyceum Capital acquired a majority stake in EAT in March 2011, investing alongside the founders and management, and rolled out a refurbishment programme.

Olivier Berment, managing director at Ardian and head of private debt, said: “It is very exciting to be supporting one of the UK’s leading food retail brands. We will be providing EAT with the financial resources needed to structure a financing package, which gives the business enough flexibility to execute its expansion strategy as it enters the next phase in its development.

“Unitranche funding has taken on a far greater role in the wake of the reduction in lending from the banking sector. By combining senior and subordinated debt into one tranche, it gives companies greater access to the resources needed to finance their development. This is yet another example of its effectiveness.”

The financing means Ardian has now issued almost €1.2 billion of unitranche debt since 2011, the firm said.